The world created by Tolkien is a beautiful world full of light, love, laughter, and enchanting magic. But on the other side, Morgoth also brings his menagerie of monsters, trolls, dragons, and balrogs, which he made from tortured and corrupted essences of lesser Spirits whom he had swung to his side during the Music of the Ainur. With these monsters, he fights against the Elves and the Valar, destroying all they created.
Through the experiences of several characters, J.R.R. Tolkien weaves a tale of the making of the world, its brief period of unmarred bliss and happiness, and the prolonged period of war, death, and suffering that begins through the arrogance, pride, and malice of the Valar Melkor, who becomes known as Morgoth.
‘The Silmarillion‘ was incredibly influential in the years after it was published and only recently got adapted into a TV series. The novel influenced the rise of high fantasy fiction in film and literature.
Beauty, Light, and Creation
The Silmarillion‘ is filled with the creation of beautiful things and beings who adore the beauty of light. The book’s central theme revolves around the Silmarils, which are works of beauty filled with the untarnished Light of the Two Trees of Valinor.
‘The Silmarillion‘ starts with creation as Eru makes the angelic beings called The Ainur: fragments of his thoughts. Through these beings, Eru brings his thoughts about the living world, Ea, into fruition through the Music whose theme he set for them. As the Ainur comes to live within Ea so they can create the world according to the visions Eru showed them after the Music, they become the Valar: the powers of the world. They create many beautiful things filled with light and beauty, including the Lamps, the Two Trees, and finally, their deathless and everlasting home in Valinor.
On the other hand, the malicious Vala Melkor is the opposite of what the other Valar believes. He holds beauty in contempt and hates the Light. He never creates things of his own because he is envious and malicious toward the creations of his brethren. Every beautiful thing the Valar creates, Melkor either destroys or twists into monstrosities. He casts down the Lamps, destroying a large portion of Middle Earth. He kills the Two Trees with the help of Ungoliant and twists elves through torture and vile sorcery to create his Orcs.
The Death of Innocence
In ‘The Silmarillion,’ Eru creates the Ainur and the Children as perfect and innocent beings without guile, propensity for evil, or deceit. This is one of the many aspects in which the Bible influenced the book. This portrayal of guilelessness is when Melkor rebels against Eru Iluvatar by introducing his Theme that clashes with Eru’s.
It throws the Ainur into chaos and confusion and threatens to unravel their Music. Another instance when the Valar shows their innocence is after Melkor’s captivity. Being unable to comprehend the immovable and unchangeable evil in Melkor’s heart, they allow him to move freely within Valinor. He spreads his evil again, leading to the death of the Trees and the tragedies that follow.
The Children of Iluvatar, the Elves, and the Men are also created to be innocent. Again, this gets ruined by Melkor’s malice and meddling. Using his monsters, he hunts men and elves and kidnaps many of them, making them afraid of the night and the dark. In Valinor, he spreads lies among the Elves and turns many of them against the Valar. This leads to the deaths and suffering of an uncountable number of them.
Salvation Through Love
In ‘The Silmarillion,’ J.R.R. Tolkien uses love as a vehicle for the salvation of both Elves and Men. This is one of the many instances where Tolkien’s works run parallel to The Bible. Often coming like unions between elven women and mortal men, their love becomes a fulcrum around which the fates of multitudes revolve.
The love between Beren and Luthien is perhaps the most important of these examples. Luthien was the product of a union between a Maia and a Sindar elf and one of the most beautiful and powerful elves. Her sorcery was mainly in her voice, hair, and cloak. The love between her and Beren led to the Quest for the Silmaril, which led, through many perils, to the recovery of one of the Silmarils. Luthien lost her immortality in the process, but the recovery became pivotal in the Valar saving Middle Earth from Morgoth. The Silmaril aided Beren and Luthien’s granddaughter Elwing and her husband Earendil in finding the hidden realm of Valinor, where they pled with the Valar to come to save Middle Earth.
The second union of Elves and Men is the love between Idril Celebrindal, princess of Gondolin, and Tuor. When Tuor arrives in the hidden kingdom of Gondolin with a message from the Valar Ulmo, he is given a place of great honor by King Turgon
who initially disregarded Ulmo’s warnings. Idril and Tuor soon develop a love for each other and are wedded, and together they have a son named Earendil. When Gondolin gets betrayed and Morgoth’s forces attacked, Tuor is crucial in defending the city. After the defenses fail, he and Idril lead the survivors through a secret passage. Their union does not just save many Gondolin citizens, but their son goes on to marry Elwing and convince the Valar to save Middle Earth.
Is ‘The Silmarillion’ a good book to read?
Yes, it is. However, many first-time readers find ‘The Silmarillion’ a little cumbersome on trial. Published in 1977, ‘The Silmarillion’ has become one of the most important books of fantasy ever written.
How did the Oath of Feanor change the fate of Middle Earth?
Feanor made his sons swear an oath to prevent any being, Elf or Valar, from standing between them and recovering the Silmarils. Because of this oath, many elves refused to ally with them. They threatened Thingol, so no soldier came to Nirnaeth Arnodiad from Doriath. They finally destroyed Doriath after Thingol’s death. They also destroyed the Havens of Sirion when they came for Beren’s Silmaril.
Where do the races of Middle Earth go when they die?
Dwarves turn into the rocks of Aule. The Elves go to The Halls of Waiting in Valinor where they wait to be re-embodied because their souls cannot leave the world. The souls of Men also come to the Halls of Waiting when they die, but then they leave Aman after and do not re-embody.
How did dragons originate in ‘The Silmarillion?’
Dragons in ‘The Silmarillion’ were created by Morgoth. He made them by twisting the powerful beings who served him and pouring his sorcery into them. Dragons are powerful and intelligent beings with sorcerous powers of their own.
The Silmarillion Review
Lasting Effect on Reader
The Silmarillion Review
‘The Silmarillion’ by J.R.R. Tolkien is a novel of high fantasy that explores the depths of emotions and exploits of human beings using the experiences and sentiments of its characters. Feelings like love, arrogance, pride, and avarice are analyzed. It presents sweeping vistas, great works of beauty, and their eventual loss.
- Positive themes like love, justice, and bravery.
- Employs complex and thematically deep narratives.
- Deep religious themes.
- Overly dense storytelling could be a problem for readers.
- The author romanticizes the antagonist.
- The writing style can be obscure.